Due to the Alert Level Four in place for the whole of Wales with a very high risk of infection by the new variant of Covid-19 and the ‘at risk’ profile of many of our parishioners Mass will be live streamed only from St. Teilo’s until further notice. An update will be provided next weekend.
Today the Church celebrates the Feast of the Holy Family. This celebration takes place on the Sunday within the octave of Christmas bringing our thoughts to our own families as well as the family of Jesus, Mary and Joseph. The Gospel for today is taken from the Gospel according to Luke and describes the presentation of the child Jesus in the Temple.
The Gospel alludes to several aspects of the Law of Moses: circumcision, the dedication of the firstborn son to the Lord, and the purification of a woman after childbirth. According to the Law of Moses as presented in the Book of Leviticus, a woman was considered ritually unclean during her menstrual period and for a prescribed period of time following the birth of a child. After the birth of a son, a woman was considered ritually unclean for 40 days. After the birth of a daughter, a woman was considered unclean for 80 days. In order to be restored to ritual purity, a Jewish woman performed the appropriate rites of purification and made the prescribed ritual offering.
Today’s Gospel notes that Jesus was circumcised on the eighth day after his birth, in accordance with the Mosaic Law. At that time, he was called Jesus, the name he was given by the angel Gabriel. On the 40th day after Jesus’ birth, Mary performed the appropriate purification rites and made her offering at the Temple. Although the Law of Moses required an offering of a lamb, those who could not afford a lamb could substitute two turtledoves or two pigeons. In this scene, Luke identifies Joseph and Mary as being poor, and indeed throughout Luke’s Gospel, Jesus will show special concern for the poor.
Another Jewish rite referenced in this Gospel is the dedication of the firstborn son to the Lord. In remembrance of the feast of Passover, when the firstborn children of the Israelites in Egypt were saved from death, the Law of Moses prescribed that all firstborn males of Israel should be consecrated to the Lord. In this tradition, Mary and Joseph present the infant Jesus in the Temple in Jerusalem.
In Jerusalem, Luke reports that Mary and Joseph encounter two devout Jews, Simeon and Anna, who recognize the infant Jesus as the fulfilment of Israel’s hope for redemption. In Simeon’s words we find a prediction of Mary’s witnessing of Jesus’ death on the cross. The Canticle of Simeon, also called by its Latin name, Nunc Dimitis, is prayed at night prayer, or compline, each day during the Liturgy of the Hours. As we come to honour the Holy Family and pray for our own families, perhaps we can make Simeon’s prayer our own as we rejoice to see the salvation of God:
At last, all-powerful Master,
you give leave to your servant
to go in peace, according to your promise.
For my eyes have seen your salvation
which you have prepared for all nations,
the light to enlighten the Gentiles
and give glory to Israel, your people.
Mass today will be at 10.00am and you are welcome to join us online.
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